Midge Goldberg: Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is always touted as
   the perfect place to be.
But where's the place for things that are
   less than heavenly?

The moderate joy of raisin bran,
   a morning's smooth commute—
I'd only need Cloud 2 or 3
   for puppies that are cute.

A 4 or 5 might do for coffee,
   books that I have read.
Cloud 6 or 7's getting up there—
   college degrees, fresh bread.

8, for me, would be the zenith—
   babies, weddings too,
that's the cloud I'd use to show
   the joy I feel with you.

Not that you don't deserve a 9
   it's just that, in my way,
I'd always keep 9 in reserve
   for some impossible day.

And yet, one day, I'll take your hand,
   one moment, close to death,
I'll think "there's nothing else," and whisper
   "9" with my last breath.